New York Times Looks at Charter Schools in Suburbia
'Charter School Battle Shifts to Affluent Suburbs' examines tensions in top-performing affluent school districts.
The tension over charter schools is the focus of a Sunday New York Times article on the shift of the debate to "affluent suburbs."
The story features the Millburn dad who started Millburn Parents Against Charter Schools to block approval of so-called "boutique" charter schools many say will drain resources from already successful school districts.
As Patch readers know, the story has been unfolding in the suburbs for months. In Millburn and Livingston, parents have collected about 800 signatures to persuade the NJ Department of Education to deny the applications of two Mandarin-language immersion schools. Last month, local residents joined Millburn and protestors from other suburban school districts in a “Save Our Schools” rally.
Sen. Richard Codey told the crowd that the fight over charter schools is a “watershed moment” in education. Codey said if “boutiques” like the Mandarin-immersion charter schools proposed for Livingston, Millburn and neighboring districts are approved, the “the domino effect would be mind boggling.”
The Times reports on issue being played out in suburbs around the country, focusing mainly on the battle over Hua Mei and Hanyu International — which could start in 2012 with kindergarten through second-grade students drawn from Livingston, Millburn, Maplewood, South Orange, West Orange and Union. The applications have divided neighbors and prompted calls for legislation to require voter approval to open charter schools.
Millburn Parents Against Charter Schools' leader Matt Stewart and Millburn Superintendent of Schools Dr. James Crisfield are featured in the Times story. The NJ Department of Education is expected to rule on the applications this September.
In its report, The Times also looked at the situation in other states, including Illinois, Minnesota, Georgia and Maryland and Virginia.
Jutta Gassner-Snyder, Hua Mei’s lead applicant, tells the Times: “This is not just about the education of my child. If we just sit back and let school districts decide what they want to do without taking into account global economic trends, as a nation, we all lose.”
Read the entire story in The New York Times: Charter School Battle Shifts to Affluent Suburbs; July 16, 2011.